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The Original Zuppa Inglese - Italian Trifle

ricetta della Zuppa Inglese Moderna
Zuppa inglese (or Italian Trifle) is an iconic Italian dessert very much in vogue in the 70s and 80s and now making a great comeback. It is easy
to prepare and requires only a few ingredients: A fresh sponge cake, excellent Vanilla and Chocolate Custard, and the unmistakable touch of Alchermes liqueur the famous Italian liqueur, with a spicy taste and an unmistakable red color.
Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: 30 minutes
Freezing: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 50 minutes
RECIPE FOR: 8 people


  • Electric Mixer or a Stand Mixer
  • Cake Pan
  • Pastry Ring 24cm diameter


For the Sponge Cake

  • 250 gr Eggs
  • 150 gr Granulated Sugar
  • 100 gr all-purpose flour
  • 50 gr Potato Starch
  • 1 pod Vaniglia Bourbon

For the Custard

  • 500 gr Whole Milk
  • 120 gr Heavy Cream
  • 180 gr Egg Yolks
  • 180 gr Granulated Sugar
  • 21 gr Corn Starch
  • 21 gr Rice Starch
  • 150 gr Dark Chocolate 70%

For Soaking the Sponge Cake

  • 200 gr Alchermes Liqueur

For the Italian Meringue for Decoration

  • 200 gr Egg Whites
  • 350 gr Granulated Sugar
  • 50 gr dextrose powder if not available, replace with equal weight of Sugar
  • 115 gr water


For the Sponge Cake

  • Beat eggs with sugar in a mixer until the mass has grown 5 times its initial volume.
  • Sift the powders (flour and starch) 2 times and add them in 3 batches to the egg whisk, using a spatula to mix.
  • Pour the sponge cake mixture into a buttered cake pan or a 24cm diameter ring and bake at 170°C (338°F) for 20 minutes.
  • Once baked, take the sponge cake out of the oven, dust it with caster sugar, and let it cool upside down so that the surface is even.

For the Custard

  • Bring the milk and cream to a boil. Separately, beat the egg yolks with the sugar, powders and vanilla
  • Stem the egg mixture with milk; mix 3/4 of the liquid and bring to a simmer once you have poured it all into a pot.
  • Pour a first half of the cream into a well-cleaned baking dish (perhaps sterilized with food-grade alcohol), sprinkle with caster sugar, and blast (or freeze) until it reaches +4°C (38°F).
  • Chop up the dark Chocolate. Pour the second half of the cream over the chocolate and mix carefully to blend everything.

For the Italian Meringue

  • Cook the granulated sugar (350gr) and water at 121°C (250°F). Around 110°C (230°F) start whipping the egg whites with the dextrose (or 50gr granulated sugar, if not available).
  • Whip the meringue until it cools.

How to assembly the Zuppa Inglese

  • Cover the edges and bottom of a 24cm-diameter pastry ring with slices of sponge cake cut to a thickness of about 1/2cm.
  • Drizzle with Alchermes liquor and place a first layer of chocolate custard.
  • Arrange a second layer of sponge cake and soak with the Alchemes. Arrange a second layer of custard (white) and finish with a final layer of sponge cake to close the cake.
  • Place the Zuppa Inglese in a blast chiller or freezer until completely frozen.
  • Unmold, soak the outer surface with Alchermes liquor and decorate with roses of Italian meringue. Sprinkle with a light layer of powdered sugar and flame with a pastry torch to stabilize the meringue.
  • Allow the Zuppa Inglese to unfreeze in the refrigerator at +4°C (+38°F) before serving.



Calories: 831kcal | Carbohydrates: 124g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 388mg | Sodium: 139mg | Potassium: 412mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 99g | Vitamina A: 822IU | Vitamina C: 1mg | Calcio: 148mg | Ferro: 4mg


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